Planes are required to meet ever stricter fuel consumption targets, the consequence is that the aerodynamic efficiency of the design has to be improved with rapid and effective design cycles. CFD modelling has its roots in the aerospace industry and is an integral tool for the design of aircraft. Alongside experimental testing, CFD is used to test and optimise geometrical shapes, to improve the aerodynamic efficiency of an aircraft and to study its performance envelope. 

CFD simulation use in Aerospace

SimWorks allows to generate a CFD simulation by defining all the model settings using an intuitive Graphical User Interface (GUI). Once the first CFD simulation is defined, it is possible to carry out a complete aerodynamic mapping of the plane design easily creating new simulations to iterate through plane pitch, roll and yaw angles and different air speeds. Moreover once the mapping is completed the same parameters can be reused to evaluate new designs in a quick and effective way. 

Glider pitch sweep and stall angle
Glider pitch sweep CFD simulation carried out with SimWorks Manager

The simulation above has been carried out using SimWorks Manager and it shows the coefficient of pressure (Cp) distribution on a glider wings with increasing plane angle of attack. Increasing the angle of attack progressively increases the suction peak on top of the wings until the flow separates and stall occurs, this defines the plane pitch sweep.

vortices shed by acrobatic plane canards

Vortices shed by front canards on an acrobatic aircraft

wake structure of a glider

Smoke trails showing the wake structure of a glider

Range and payload targets can only be met with continuous improvements in the aerodynamic efficiency of the plane design and propellers. This is currently possible by using cutting edge CFD tools. IdealSimulations offers consultancy services in aerodynamics design and develops tailored CFD software solutions for specific industry needs.

Specific CFD analysis

SimWorks and SimWorks Manager allow to carry out CFD simulations for the aerospace sector offering solutions to a variety of specialised analyses. A good example is the flow energy analysis checking the Cp0 (total flow energy coefficient, which is the sum of the dynamic and the static pressure) for aerodynamic designs in different operation conditions to highlight possible flow separations and stalls.

Cp0 (flow energy) plot of a glider sweep progressively increasing the angle of attack - CFD simulation carried out with SimWorks Manager

The CFD simulation results shown in the image above are showing that beyond a specific angle of attack  the flow separates on the wing surface triggering a stall, this is particularly evident in the last two images above where the clear loss of flow energy is showing that the flow is not anymore attached to the surface and the wing is producing aerodynamic load anymore.

For instance optimising a propeller  for a small plane requires a specific model with moving meshes to be able to capture the propeller rotation, this way it is possible to optimise the propeller design but also study the interaction with the surrounding elements like the nose cone. Plane cabins require precise design of air conditioning systems, SimWorks offers the capability to carry out HVAC simulations of the plane cabin (see the HVAC section for reference on this type of simulations). As in the case of a complete analysis, also these models allow to reuse the setup and parameters defined in the first iteration in the following ones, effectively reducing the development time

Try our free CFD software SimWorks, no registration required or contact us to find out more

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